Image credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

After years of playing in either the NL- or AL-only versions of Tout Wars, I decided to shift over to the mixed league draft for the first time. There wasn’t a singular reason for this change, but it was primarily because most of my audience (and fantasy baseball content in general) has shifted toward mixed league play and because I have found mono leagues somewhat stale of late. I also want to provide more draft-oriented coverage for my readers, and this is an easy way to do it.

The format for this league is a 15-team mixed snake draft with a standard fantasy roster, including two catchers and six reserve slots. It is a 5×5 category league, with the one wrinkle being that OBP replaces AVG as a category. 

I seldom enter redraft leagues with a strategy, outside of attempting to be competitive in every category. In a 30-round draft, I typically draft for value in the first 10 rounds, start considering position and category balance in rounds 11-20, and use rounds 21 and later to address any deficiencies, particularly with my reserve picks. This draft took place two days before the owner-imposed lockout ended, so everyone in the draft was coping with the same uncertainty regarding free agents and their ultimate landing spots.

I drafted from the 12th spot on the board, which meant I would go 19th in the second round, 42nd in the third round, and so on.

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP 3/8 ADP Recommends
1.12 Corbin Burnes SP 8 8 Bo Bichette
2.19 Max Scherzer SP 19 19 Bichette

“My Rank” is the ranking I had on my OBP-adjusted draft list on March 8th. “ADP 3/8” is where ADP stood in NFBC Draft Champions leagues that completed their drafts between February 13th and March 8th. “ADP Recommends” is who I would have taken if I simply followed NFBC ADP.

I didn’t plan to start with “pocket aces” (two starting pitchers in rounds 1-2) but since I was willing to go with value, that’s where my draft took me. Right away you can see the divergence between AVG and OBP leagues. I’m lukewarm on Bichette but in an AVG league I would have let out a cry of joy if he fell to me at 19th overall. The AX ranks him 12th in AVG leagues and 21st in OBP formats. He’s an extremely solid anchor but you want your anchor in Tout Wars to provide positive value in OBP. Bichette went one pick after I took Scherzer, to Rudy Gamble of Razzball

Rounds 3/4

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
3.42 Whit Merrifield 2B/OF 34 30 Liam Hendriks
4.49 Randy Arozarena OF 37 62 Hendriks

My worry in most drafts is I won’t get speed, or at least won’t get enough of it. There aren’t many players projected to steal 20 or more bases, and the players in this category are either being drafted very early or come with a lot of baggage. I suspected that Cedric Mullins, Starling Marte, and Merrifield would all be gone by the time my turn came so I was a little surprised to get Merrifield. ADP says Arozarena is a reach, but The AX sees him as a par pick. This 3/4 duo gave me a nice 50-steal baseline and helped keep me from reaching for steals later, when available speedsters come with much more tenuous skill sets.

Closers are getting pushed up this year, but I’ve been wary of taking either Josh Hader or Hendriks this early. Both slipped past their NFBC ADP, but all this told me was that closers would likely go later in this draft, and I could play the value game with a top-10 closer later.

Rounds 5/6

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
5.72 Joey Gallo OF 47 190 Raisel Iglesias
6.79 Carlos Correa SS 53 108 Emmanuel Clase

One of these picks was dictated by the OBP adjustment and one by my personal preference. The AX has Gallo ranked 28th overall in OBP. My format-adjusted ranks pushed him to 37th, and I “cheated” by knocking him to 47th. My thinking was that I wouldn’t get him in the 4th round unless the draft went nearly 100 percent chalk, and someone would see the same thing I did and take him before he came back to me in Round 5. At some point, a bargain is a bargain. The AX despises Correa, but he has much stronger projections everywhere else. The bloc of speed in rounds 3-4 allowed me to take players like Gallo and Correa, build up my power, and not worry about speed with these picks.

ADP kept recommending closers. I still didn’t want to push for saves, particularly since I already drafted starting pitching early. Closers were still going well after ADP, which was worth paying attention to.

Rounds 7/8

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
7.102 Christian Yelich OF 67 102 Adalberto Mondesi
8.109 Yu Darvish SP 51 94 Mondesi

Yelich doesn’t quite get the OBP boost Gallo does, but at this ADP it hardly matters. I only need 15-20 home runs with good run and RBI totals for this to be a par price, and if there’s any sort of rebound lurking this becomes a tidy bargain. I’m very high on Darvish but the nice thing about pocket aces is I could afford to wait one round and see if he was still there. Justin Verlander and Blake Snell were my back up plans as part of my loose strategy to get three starting pitchers in the first eight rounds and then load up on everything else.

Mondesi really fell. He’s an OBP sinkhole (his range of projections is .272 to .289) but he was creeping up my board and at least worth considering over Darvish. However, this is where the anchor speed I had already drafted kept me from taking this significant risk.

Rounds 9/10

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
9.132 Will Smith RP 129 60 Smith
10.139 Ryan Mountcastle 1B/OF 99 118 DJ LeMahieu


I felt great about the Smith pick on March 8th. He was the last of the top-tier relievers to come off the board and I had navigated this portion of the draft perfectly. Then Kenley Jansen signed with Atlanta on March 18th. Oh well. I’m in my own room with Mountcastle. The mostly negative narrative is that he strikes out way too much and will be impacted negatively by Baltimore’s decision to move the fences back in left field. I see a 25-year-old masher with room for growth who recovered after an awful April and posted comparable stats to Pete Alonso from May 1 on (no, I’m not saying he’ll do what Alonso will do). Also, Mountcastle isn’t a straight pull hitter and most of the home runs he hit to left and left center were bombs.

LeMahieu isn’t my kind of player, and at this point I needed raw power because of the speed I drafted earlier.

Rounds 11/12

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
11.162 C.J. Cron 1B 101 128 LeMahieu
12.169 Anthony Rizzo 1B 103 188 Corey Knebel

I don’t know if Cron’s newfound selectivity will hold, but if it does, he provides sneaky OBP to go along with solid contributions in three categories. Mountcastle’s outfield eligibility allowed me to move him there and draft Rizzo at first base. The AX believes in a bounce-back and Rizzo is another solid OBP bat.

My philosophy on closers in drafts is one top-tier arm, one second level arm later, and a speculative play late. For me, it was too early for Knebel, who was selected two picks after Rizzo.

Rounds 13/14

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
13.192 Clayton Kershaw SP 148 171 Ke’Bryan Hayes
14.199 Amed Rosario SS 159 146 Rosario

Relative to my valuations and their ADP, there were some starting pitchers who were bargains. If you’ve been reading my work this winter, you know that my core philosophy is to take three starters early and then wait. As it turned out, Kershaw was a nice bargain at this price and a great SP4. Rosario is a chalk-ish pick, and it was now late enough in the draft where I could start adding more speed to the base I already had.

I’m not a Hayes believer, and while he fell, I didn’t feel compelled to take him in the least.

Rounds 15/16

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
15.222 Tommy Pham OF 138 255 Gregory Soto
16.229 Carlos Carrasco SP 195 302 Soto

If you’re wondering about how to use ADP for your drafts, Pham offers a useful jumping off point for discussion. If I were merely going off straight value, I would have taken him in the 13th round. Instead, I waited, figuring he’d be here. Carrasco is also an ADP reach, but my plan was not to take my next starting pitcher until Round 22, and I knew Carrasco wouldn’t be there. Even in a deep mixed league, there will be enough free agents to play the upside game with him if he gets hurt or doesn’t work out.

I was still willing to wait for my second closer. I especially do not like Soto, who I’m not even sure will get the ball on Opening Day.

Rounds 17/18

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
17.252 Gary Sánchez C 169 268 Soto
18.259 Lou Trivino RP 247 226 Soto

I have mostly been avoiding spending my draft capital on top tier catchers and I wasn’t convinced to deviate from this plan in this draft. But I do like taking at least one catcher by this point, as I don’t want to simply take two garbage backstops and hope for the best. I felt better about the Sánchez pick before he was traded to the Twins, but The AX still has him 10th overall among backstops and pegs him as a relative bargain. Finally, I took the plunge on a second closer in Trivino, who is now my first closer thanks to the Jansen signing.

Rounds 19/20

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
19.282 Mike Yastrzemski OF 167 287 Garrett Whitlock
20.289 Alec Bohm 3B 240 281 Frank Schwindel

Getting 20-25 home runs from your sixth outfielder/DH plays, and Yaz’s bad batting average doesn’t matter here. Hopefully his quad injury isn’t serious.

I like Bohm as a bounce-back candidate, but he wasn’t what I was hoping for as my primary third baseman. There were pockets of the draft where I thought I’d get a good third baseman, but people were aggressive at third throughout. I took Mountcastle in the 10th round hoping Josh Donaldson would slip to me in the 11th but missed by five picks. The same thing happened with Cavan Biggio in the 17th round. Finally, I was sniped on Wisdom right before I took Bohm. Now it looks like Bohm is going to get sent to Triple-A. He might get cut before he spends even a minute on my team.

Rather than go through every pick for the last third of my draft I’m just going to show you how it shook out at the end.

Rounds 21-29

Round/Pick Player Pos My Rank ADP (3/8) ADP Recommends
21.312 Frank Schwindel 1B 217 233 Schwindel
22.319 Marco Gonzales SP 261 332 Andrés Giménez
23.342 Austin Nola C 328 340 Giménez
24.349 Michael Pineda SP 289 440 Giménez
25.372 Andres  Giménez 2B/SS 290 240  Giménez
26.379 Brian Anderson 3B 310 367 Ian Kennedy
27.402 Nick Pivetta SP 297 337 Kennedy
28.409 Josh Lowe OF 398 351 Kennedy
29.432 Robert Stephenson RP 325 583 David Fletcher

You don’t need a complete active roster after 23 rounds, which is why I went for value with Schwindel. The rest of the pitching picks were about volume with the hope of mixing and matching for matchups, although the pocket aces strategy does allow for the occasional blow-up. I’m not the biggest Giménez believer but was surprised he fell this far, particularly since steals are at a premium and the projection models all have him in the 15-20 stolen base range. Anderson was my hedge for Bohm. The players I took in the last two rounds are spec plays. I love Lowe as a stash. I should have taken a better saves spec arm than Stephenson.

The AX Projections, Tout Mixed 2022 (Top Four Teams)

Baseball Pro – MG 13 10 14 15 10 13.5 12 14.5 15 14 131
Baseball HQ 9 5 5 12 8 11.5 10 11.5 11 12 95
Razzball 8 12 9 4 13 6.5 8.5 10 12 9 92
CDM Sports 10.5 11 15 13 9 13.5 3 9 5 3 92

Of course, The AX loves my team. Which is funny because I didn’t simply use The AX as my sole drafting tool, but I do tend to review its projections and they offer some guidance in my decision making process.

This is the projection model from March 9th, so Smith is included in that saves total. Still, even without him my team looks competitive in nine categories. The pocket aces and speed in the first four rounds of the draft made me worry I was going to emerge with a team that was light on power, but this wasn’t the case at all. Smith is evidence that things can and will go wrong before the season even starts, but this is a promising way to kick off my first foray into Tout mixed.

You can find the complete results of the Tout Wars Mixed League (15-Team) draft here.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
Can we get a review of the NL-only auction? While this is useful for mixed league fans, I find that reviews that look at the whole league auction/draft (vs. just one team) are more valuable.
Mike Gianella
I'll have a LABR NL recap up next week.
Great recap--it looked like your strategy worked well, even with the tough closer luck.

Echoing Frank, can we get a recap of the AL-only auction?
Mike Gianella
Sounds like there's more interest in a landscape piece than a league specific recap. I'll try to put something together for next week, then.